There was this guyMilan, Spring 2009

There was this guy named Giuseppe Verdi who thought up an idea to build a home, "Casa di Verdi" for retired musicians in 1895 and it still stands today. 114 years of rich history. It also houses students who are currently studying music at the conservatory. They have mentor-ship program with the retired musicians.

Today, I went to the "Casa di Verdi" to interview the residents. The interviews were in Italian...I repeat Italian...and my only background of Italian comes from this semester residing in Italy. I was pretty nervous. However, the coordinating director introduced me to some elderly friends who were chatting over cafe, the lady was a professional dancer and the man was a viola player. Right away the lady, Tina offered to get me a cafe from the machines. She was really sweet.

All of my interviewees were patient with my limited span of Italian. They each had such fascinating stories! I met a viola player who toured in Japan and recorded an album, a contralto singer who performed at the La Scala Theater in Milan, and another singer who makes jewelry as a hobby now. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with these sweet people who are accomplished musicians.

I asked: "What does music mean to you?" and "What advice would you give to musicians?"

They responded: "Music is emotion." "Music is life." "If you don't have joy or passion when playing music, stop it right now!" ( Imagine an elderly Italian saying these things...better expressed in person)

I like what this guy Verdi started...very much.

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